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Towards the World Culture Society

Florian Znaniecki’s Culturalism


Elzbieta Halas

If the new cultural sociology is to gain firm grounds, it should rediscover the classic studies on cultural dynamics and cultural systems. This book contributes to a better understanding of Florian Znaniecki as an eminent culturologist and the lasting relevance of his theory of cultural becoming. Znaniecki opted for a humanistic approach that he called culturalism. Culturalism, founded on the principle of the humanistic coefficient, is applied also to the cultural person. The concept of social values makes this cultural approach an original one. The cultural logic and cultural ethos of Znaniecki’s thought is inherent in the very principle of a creative evolution of culture, augmenting his vision of a new civilization of the future and a world culture society.


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11 Crisis, Conflicts and the Possibility of a Creative Development of a New Civilization / 171


chapter 11 Crisis, Conflict and the Possibility of a Creative Development of a New Civilization Znaniecki’s Culturalism In 1900 Friedrich Nietzsche, a great ‘master of suspicion’ ( Ricoeur 1975: 80) of the fin de si¯cle period, died. The Nietzschean motif of decadence – of the fall of Western culture had to be voiced fully in the reflection of the twentieth century thinkers and emphasized by the tragic chords of history: by the outbreak of the First World War, the Russian Revolution and the revolutionary wave in Europe in 1918, the fascist move- ments in Europe in the thirties, the Second World War and the division of Europe and the world into antagonistic political blocs. The reflections upon civilization by Oswald Spengler, José Ortega y Gasset, Arnold Toynbee and Pitirim A. Sorokin are well known to the cultural public of Western Europe. In Europe, however, common perspectives of historical experience have never been held, and looking into the ‘gulf ’ of contemporary civilization was to become a specific privilege of the East ( Mi∏osz 1980). This is where in the end Auschwitz took place – the anus mundi – to use the words of Heinz Thilo, an SS physician ( K´piƒski 1973: 5) – the place of the ‘clearing’ the world for the fascist Übermensch, a caricature of the Nietzschean creative ‘man of the future’. ( Kuderowicz 1979: 139) Only a small portion of classical East-European attainments in the social sci- ences has been assimilated in the West: for instance, some...

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